Meet the Mead Maker

Gardiner Mulford owner and mead maker of Maidstone Meadery is one of the most interesting people I have met.  He grew up on a small horse farm in Northern Virginia with three brothers. He graduated from the Forman Preparatory School in Litchfield Connecticut.  From there he attended and graduated from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Amazingly, he put himself through college by commercial salmon fishing on the Yukon River Delta.  On this subject he immediately launches into stories about his adventures in Alaska and I wait until he is ready to continue.

Upon graduating from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, he received a Regular Army Commission as a Second Lieutenant.  Tours of duty included Pamunjom, Korea and Fort Campbell Kentucky with the 101st Airborne Division.  With the 101st he commanded an Air Assault Rifle Company during Operation Desert Storm.  In 1994 he took the Early Out Bonus and opened a gym in Aguadillia, Puerto Rico.  An avid tennis player, scuba diver and private pilot Gardiner spent more time playing than he probably should have.

After six years in Puerto Rico he returned to his native Virginia and began selling real estate where he made and then lost a small fortune.  An accomplished horseman, Gardiner began playing polo and sponsored his own Mulford Realty Polo Team which was a regular feature at Great Meadows Saturday night polo games.

After the collapse of the banking industry and the ensuing depression Gardiner like many Realtors found he had lots of time on his hands so he began making mead with the honey from his own bee hives.  Friends and mead fans convinced him to make mead commercially.  As he tells it, “mead making became a passion for perfection.”  “People didn’t ask for it they demanded it!”

Maidstone Meadery was named after Maidstone, Kent England where some of the early Mulford’s lived before coming to the New World in 1621.  Gardiner is a direct decedent of the East Hampton Mulfords who were renown as judges, whalers and patriots.  He says a total of 15 Mulfords died during the American Revolution.

Gardiner has a knack for conversation and has a way of making his guests feel truly welcome. Come visit Maidstone Meadery, visit the hives and enjoy some country scenery.  Give his mead a try and enjoy a bottle on the front porch as I did. You will not be disappointed.  Gardiner operates a tasting room out of an old school house on the John C. Marshall Farm in Delaplane, Virginia.